Tim Tebow and How To Be A Bad Christian Witness

Some thought that may pertain to the recent phenomenon of LinSanity!

Chief of the least

He is the super football hero poster boy for adulating young boys and fawning middle-aged women. He’s a lightning rod of criticism for the skeptical media and scorning masses. He’s a flamboyant winner who wears his faith and emotions on his sleeve.

He’s now 6-1 7-1 as a starting QB and crowned as the comeback King of the NFL.

Tim Tebow is actually not the primary subject of this post (I know the title is a bit subversive.) We are. More specifically, “we” as in: The Christians who may put Tebow-like characters on a lofty pedestal OR on unwarranted blast are the ones who need to heed our “Christian witness”.

You could replace “Tebow” with “Bieber” or “Newton” and it could have the same effect.

The way we could be potentially bad “Christian Witnesses” would be by publicly mishandling very public Christian personas such as Tebow. There are two ditches…

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Tim Tebow and How To Be A Bad Christian Witness

He is the super football hero poster boy for adulating young boys and fawning middle-aged women. He’s a lightning rod of criticism for the skeptical media and scorning masses. He’s a flamboyant winner who wears his faith and emotions on his sleeve.

He’s now 6-1 7-1 as a starting QB and crowned as the comeback King of the NFL.

Tim Tebow is actually not the primary subject of this post (I know the title is a bit subversive.) We are. More specifically, “we” as in: The Christians who may put Tebow-like characters on a lofty pedestal OR on unwarranted blast are the ones who need to heed our “Christian witness”.

You could replace “Tebow” with “Bieber” or “Newton” and it could have the same effect.

The way we could be potentially bad “Christian Witnesses” would be by publicly mishandling very public Christian personas such as Tebow. There are two ditches we can fall into, both equally treacherous.

Tebow is a hypocrite

Read any article on a major internet news source that sheds a slightly positive light on Tebow’s faith and core values. Then scroll down to the comments sections and witness the vitriol spewed in Christianity’s direction on account of Tebow’s public persona. An all-around nice guy and solid role model is painted as a fanatically religious loon with ulterior motives.

The last thing a Christian should do is to jump into that fray (personally guilty on that account). The world of moral relativism has enough reason to hate the absolute truth claims Tebow utters in nearly every interview like “Jesus is Lord…” Most Christians who would beseech Tebow to tone it down take issue with his methodology. When he talks, or bows, or points to the heavens after a big play all of it can seem a bit showy.

But just because these displays are not the way we would do it does not make them inherently bad. Trust me, as a Florida State fan I spent four years searching for legitimate reasons for personally disliking the Heisman and National Championship winner. Other than him being a proud Gator and 4-0 against my beloved team, I couldn’t find any juicy material that stuck.

There is a list a mile long of drug addicts, sex objects, and women abusers who are propped up as legitimate role models in our culture.

Tim Tebow may be many things, but a fraud doesn’t appear to be one of them.  What he is, in my opinion, he is sincerely. Herculean sports achievements and earnest Christian boldness may be joined together without contradiction.

There is no reason to hate on this phenomenon, Christian, just enjoy while it lasts. If the world will know Christians by how they “love one another”, then a good witness would be to love Tebow by praying for his perseverance in the faith, strength to withstand temptations before him, and even deeper grace to walk out the good confession he’s made.

Tebow is a god

This position takes the previous argument, kicks it to the curb, and runs wildly a million miles in the opposite direction.

I can’t prove this, but I have a sneaking suspicion. Let’s say tomorrow, *God forbid* Tebow was indicted on a seedy scandal of epic proportions that involved illegal drugs and illicit sex. I’m afraid the faith of many within contemporary Christendom would be almost irreparably shaken. I fear Tebow is the last vestige of purity and passion in sports and religion for too many. That’s a shame. Because that is way too much pressure for a young man to bear all alone. We have an unhealthy tendency to put legitimately good people on pedestals they never were created for. This is to their demise.

Look, I know Tebow can get Chick Fil A on Sundays. I know he has been a heart donor….twice. I know when Alexander Bell invented the telephone he had three missed calls from Tim Tebow.

But seriously, doesn’t our hyperbole speak volumes about what we really want to be true?

If you are a Tebow apologist/admirer here is a revelation you may or may not be able to process: Tim Tebow has morning breath. He puts on his Chuck Norris pajamas one leg at a time like the rest of us. He may even have serious bouts with pride and insecurities. And he certainly wouldn’t want to be considered as a substitute to the Savior he so boldly claims.

The minute any man is elevated to mythical status prepare to be thoroughly disappointed. As I’ve heard one saint say from the pulpit, “There aren’t any great men of God…only a great God Who has lavished His great grace on great sinners.”

An effective Christian witness doesn’t merely point men to other men.

There is a way we may talk about Christian leaders that neglects the grace of God in their lives and exalts rather some hidden virtue of character within them. But what does any man have that he did not receive?

If we are not careful our objects of worship will begin to look more like handsome young ripped carefully promoted studs instead of a weak abandoned terrifying bloody mess of Lamb on the cross. That would be a tragedy of eternal consequence.

So, thank God for Tim Tebow. But thank God even more for His Son who died on a cross so filthy sinners like us (you, me and Tebow) could be forgiven and free forevermore in His presence.

Let’s pray that would be the all consuming vision Tebow detractors and supporters would get from his life and message.

Bryan Daniels

The Cult of Cam Newton-We Are All Witnesses

We are all witnesses.

At least that is what the Nike marketers for Lebron James want us to believe.  King James has been tailor-made to be the sole heir of the mantle left by Air Jordan and those wishing to be “like Mike.” And with the fervor of a religious crusade, slickly crafted ad campaigns continue to force feed us hero-worship as a viable cure for the longings of our souls.

There is something deep within us, that yearns to admire, anoint, and adulate something or someone. This cult of personality is manifested most in the cases of sports and music.

Look no further than Heisman winner Cam Newton. His astronomical rise to the top of college football folklore is what legends are made of. Here is an amazing observation of this recent heroic cultural icon: The media is already saying Cam Newton is better than Tim Tebow. Would anyone have thought, after the recent media slobberfest over college football’s über darling (Tebow*), that a star would rise so soon that surpasses Tebow’s fame in displays of worship, fanaticism and hyperbole? Nostradamus couldn’t have called that one.

Let’s put it in perspective: These are twenty year old kids who happen to have been dealt a generous genetic hand that includes strength, size, and speed; they haven’t cured cancer, they haven’t solved world hunger, and none have been honored with a Nobel Peace prize (as if that meant anything anymore). They’re kids who play Call of Duty, drink beer (probably) and try to hit on frat girls. Yet the games they play in are a multibillion dollar business that thousands of men with families drink, fight, gamble and cry over.

I happen to be one of those men. And before you ask the answer is Yes, of course I’m jealous of guys like Newton and Tebow.

The cult of celebrity on the music side is even more illogical and silly. Just look at Michael Jackson’s recent funeral spectacle. People wept, worshiped, wailed, and fainted over the King of pop’s passing. After death, his life was so romanticized it had a hint of greek mythological flavor to it; only the denominational adherents of John Lennon and Jim Morrison are so obnoxious in their martyr like verbosity.

Of course, you can witness this at any run of the mill Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber concert. Thousands of young girls and their mom’s are whipped up into a fever pitch frenzy as they idolize and fawn over boys who can’t even serve in the military yet.

Grown men, little girls, it’s all the same. One thing is undeniably crystal clear about these strange displays: We all were made to worship. (Ecc 3:11)

The question isn’t whether we worship anything; the question is what or who are we worshiping right now?

Instead of big sweaty men in tights, or narcissistic little boys in skinny jeans, our worship should be reserved for the only one it is due: Jesus Christ.

If any man possesses any attractive or praise worthy attribute it comes from Christ (Colossians 1:16). If any man can exalt in anything, it must be Christ (Galatians 6:14). All the awards, crowds and media campaigns will mean nothing in 1000 years. Rome, the once crowning achievement of mankind, is a pile of rubble and tourist traps. 

If we were to be awestruck over anything it should be at how much God loves us in spite of our propensity to chase after such idols (Romans 5:8-12)

If we  are to weep, fall and even faint, the foot of the cross would be a perfect place to do so (Revelation 1:17). After all, that will be our posture for an eternity before the majestic throne of God.

Real heroes don’t play fleeting little games or sing silly little pop songs; the real Hero died on the cross for our sins and won an eternal victory for us through his resurrection. If we are to be struck with anything, let’s be awe-struck with a vision of the “glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4,6). With that shockingly good news let’s say with tearful amazement, “We are all witnesses.” (Acts 1:8)

* I’m not a bitter FSU fan….promise…

Bryan Daniels

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